According to Bharat Forge, one of the two cannon makers for the Indian Army, the process of final approval followed by a formal ordering process for the indigenous Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) is expected to pick up momentum in the coming months. According to a senior executive of Bharat Forge, the Pune-based auto parts manufacturer is ready to produce 100 ATAGS in the first year before raising its capacity in subsequent years.
The other manufacturing firm in this venture is Tata Advanced Systems (TASL). ATAGS are on the list of weapons that are prohibited from being imported. This was done in order to encourage local defense-related manufacturing. “We expect this whole ordering process to gather up momentum and hopefully get done this financial year,” Bharat Forge’s Deputy Managing Director Amit Kalyani said. In terms of capacity, I believe we will have around 100 weapons in our first year. Following that, we will boost our capacity to 200 each year.”
The fire trials of the ATAGS were completed by the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) in Pokhran, Rajasthan, at the end of April. The guns finished their high-altitude trials last year. The 155mm x 52 Calibre towed artillery gun has a firing range of more than 48 kilometres, making it one of the best in the world.
Each of these weapons, which would become the Indian Army’s mainstay, is projected to cost between Rs 15 and Rs 22 crore. While the initial order will be for 150 guns, the subsequent purchases of almost 1,600 weapons will represent a commercial potential worth between Rs 24,000 and Rs 35,000 crore.
“We have invested approximately Rs 250 crore so far.” But this is only for the gun; everything else, such as machining, forging, heat treatment, and steel production, was already in place. As a result, we’re utilising the group’s talents,” Kalyani explained.